Sundar Pichai has been named the CEO of Google as it becomes a subsidiary of a new company called Alphabet. It’s yet another step up for the 43-year-old executive who has been on a meteoric rise through Google’s corporate structure.
Last October, Pichai was named Google’s head of product, which put him in charge of the company’s key businesses like Android, search and Chrome, while then-CEO Larry Page stepped back from the day-to-day responsibility of managing those parts of the company.
This corporate restructuring seems to be another move along that path, since Page will become CEO of Alphabet, which will directly control businesses like the Calico life extension and Google X research and development divisions that aren’t in line with Google’s core business.
“Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company,” Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page said in a blog post announcing the company’s changes. “And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations.”
He also added, “I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that. Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation — continuing to stretch boundaries. I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information.”
Pichai was born in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula. He moved to the U.S. in 1993 to continue his studies, acquiring a master’s from Stanford and an MBA from Wharton School of Business. He joined Google in 2004 — right around the time the company launched Gmail.
Over the next decade Pichai worked on products that have had a major effect on the way the company works. After cutting his teeth on the Google Toolbar, he was a driving force behind the Chrome browser and Google Apps.
Pichai subsequently oversaw the creation of Drive. In addition to his roles with Chrome and Apps, he also took over the company’s Android division from Andy Rubin in 2013. In that role, he was responsible for negotiating a truce with Samsung at a time when the Korean electronics giant was poised to overhaul the Android user interface to de-emphasize Google’s apps and services. The success of these products under his leadership would be enough to elevate any manager to the highest echelons.
He was briefly rumored to be a candidate for the Microsoft CEO job, and Google reportedly offered him tens of millions of dollars in stock options to keep him at the company when Twitter was courting him to be its new head of product.
“Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our Internet businesses.For me, it matters that we drive technology as an equalizing force, as an enabler for everyone around the world. ” said Page.